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Thursday,25-February-2021

International

Dilhara Lokuhettige charged with defying ICC corruption code

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ICC. (Photo: Twitter/@ICC)

The International Cricket Council (ICC) has charged former Sri Lanka player Dilhara Lokuhettige with breaching the anti-corruption code on three counts. These are in addition to charges against him on behalf of the Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) last year.

Lokuhettige has been charged with influencing or agreeing to fix the result or progress or conduct any aspect of any international match. He has also been charged with trying to entice or instruct or encourage breach of code of conduct, directly or indirectly, as also for failing to disclose to the anti-corruption unit details of any approaches or invitations received by him to engage in corruption. The charges are under articles 2.1.1, 2.1.4 and 2.4.4.

Lokuhettige was charged with similar offences under the ECB code last November in connection with the T10 League in 2017. He was provisionally suspended by the ICC, which had been appointed by the ECB as designated anti-corruption official.

While that provisional suspension remains in force, he has been provisionally suspended under the ICC code, pending determination of new charges.

Lokuhettige has 14 days from April 3 to respond to the new charges. The ICC refused to make further comment in respect of these charges.

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International

Ravichandran Ashwin gets his line right to get to complete 400 Test wickets

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On a wicket that helped spinners right from the start, it looked that it would only be a matter of time before R. Ashwin would reach his tally of 400 Test wickets in England’s second innings on the second day of the third Test here.

By the 24th over of England’s second innings, he had claimed his third wicket to get to the milestone despite struggling for his line early on as left-arm spinner Axar Patel ran through England’s top-order.

He finished with innings figures of four for 48 and match figures of seven for 74 as England were bowled out for 81.

The 34-year-old bowler is the second quickest after Muttiah Muralitharan (72) to get to 400 Test wicket mark. This is Ashwin’s 77th Test match.

The off-spinner, who took three wickets in the first innings, needed six scalps ahead of this Test to get to 400 which has been breached (among Indians) only by former pace bowler Kapil Dev (434), former leg-spinner Anil Kumble (619) and former off-spinner Harbhajan Singh (417 wickets) before.

For some time early in England’s second innings after Patel had made early dents, it seemed that the visitors were on road to recovery with Ben Stokes and Joe Root at the crease.

Stokes went after the bowling, especially Ashwin as the bowler tried a bit too hard to turn giving loose balls. In his first eight overs, he gave away 33 runs — without a wicket — at over four an over despite there being so much help in the pitch.

But then he got into wickets, getting Stokes for the 11th time in Tests with one that didn’t turn. He then trapped England captain and batting mainstay Joe Root again with one that again did not turn and then followed it up with the wicket of Ollie Pope who had earlier reverse-swept him for four.

The delivery moved away a bit and Pope was bowled. He then got Jofra Archer for his 400th again with the one that didn’t turn much and followed it with the wicket of Jack Leach.

Among the Indian bowlers with over 400 wickets, Ashwin commands the best average — 24.94 as against Anil Kumble’s 29.65, Kapil Dev’s 29.64, and Harbhajan Singh’s 32.46.

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England all out for 81, India need 49 to win 3rd Test

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Two Indian slow bowlers on Thursday bagged all 10 wickets to spin out England for a mere 81 runs in their second innings on a dusty pitch, and now Virat Kohli’s team need 49 runs to win the third Test here. Left-armer Axar Patel captured five wickets to complete a match haul of 11.

Off-spinners R. Ashwin bagged four and Washington Sundar one on the second day of the five-day match, which could well finish on Thursday itself.

England batsmen were completely exposed against spin and only three of them entered double-digit scores, with Ben Stokes being the top scorer with 25 (34 balls, 3x4s).

Earlier in the day, India took a slender 33-run first-innings as they were bowled for 145 in 53.2 overs in the first session. England captain Joe Root, at best a part-time spinner, took a staggering career-best figures of five wickets for eight runs — his first five-wicket haul in first-class cricket — to hasten India’s demise.

Left-arm spinner Jack Leach bagged four wickets for 54, as India slumped from 98 for two to be all out for 145.

Only four Indian batsmen reached the double figures in their first innings, with Rohit Sharma being the highest scorer with 66 off 96 balls.

Brief scores: England: 112 all out in 48.4 overs (Zak Crawley 53, Joe Root 17; Axar Patel 6/38, R Ashwin 3/6) and 81 in 30.4 overs (Ben Stokes 25, Joe Root 19, Ollie Pope 12, Axar Patel 5/32, R. Ashwin 4/48, Washington Sundar 1/1) India: 145 in 53.2 (Rohit Sharma 66, Virat Kohli 27, R. Ashwin 17, Joe Root 5/8, Jack Leach 4/54)

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Zak Crawley hopeful England can make a match of it

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Zak-Crawley

Despite getting bowled out for just 112 in their first innings of the third Test, England are hopeful of giving India a target of at least 150 on “a wicket where batting fourth will be extremely difficult”.

“Have to aim for a lead (target for India) of at least 150. We are going to have to play extremely well but we are capable,” said England opening batsman Zak Crawley after the end of the first day’s play. Crawley scored the lone half-century in England’s innings and was dismissed for 53.

The right-handed England opener believed that a win for England is still within reach.

“I don’t think it will require a miracle actually. Batting last on this wicket will be extremely difficult… I think the pitch will continue to break up,” he said.

“If we bat well in the third innings and put a bit of pressure on them we can defend anything if the pitch continues to get worse.”

England’s scoring options were restricted as the India spinners kept a tight leash by bowling straight and tight. They couldn’t use innovative strokes like the reverse sweep.

“Did not use the reverse sweep as the ball kept coming straight. May use it in second innings if the ball turns consistently,” he added.

Asked if England made a mistake by picking just one spinner in Jack Leach, Crawley said, “If we’d got a few more runs things would look different. If they were 100 for 3 and we had 250 on the board we’d be well on top but unfortunately we didn’t get the runs and we put our bowlers until pressure.”

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